We all love mountaintop experiences with God. Perfect moments when we speak exactly the right word at the right time. All is well with our world. We are successful, beautiful, strong and free. There is nothing too hard for us. We know He lives, He is in us and all things are possible. With our God we can, like David, scale any wall (Ps 18:29 NIV).
Thank God for the mountaintops.
Mountaintops are like touchstones we remember when we’re living in the valley and ache for when we fall into the pits. We remember them and know that we have been on higher ground and will be again. Mountaintops are glimpses of glory. Valleys are mundane.
Thank God for the valleys.
Valleys are peaceful. They are the routine of life with our families and jobs. Seasoned by communion with God and his people they are predictable and secure. Comfortable.
No one enjoys living in the pits. Yet pits of loss, indecision, fear, desperation, aloneness and fatigue lie in wait for us all. They are a fact of life.
Our kind, generous Father steers us around most of these traps, but we are wayward children who don’t listen as well as we should. God is always watching, calling to us, “Come this way. Stop. Don’t go there. Listen to me! I love you! This way is better…” And, of course, He is always right. Our attention wavers and we stumble. There is nothing to grasp. We are trapped.
Some pits are inevitable. They come as a result of the choices of others or the natural progression of this temporal life. Loved ones die. We age. The unprovoked attack us. The ground beneath our feet falls out. We are helpless. The walls are slippery. We cannot pull ourselves out.
Thank God for the pits.
When we are in a pit we are desperate for the only One who can really help. The only One who cares enough. Poor, hungry, rejected and insulted we mourn for mountaintops and valleys. We cry out for help.
Stripped of all our deceptive self-sufficiency we see clearly from the pit. Our need for salvation -- for grace --is most apparent when we come to the end of us. When there is no where to look but up we must see God.
On September 10, 2001 I was grumbling in the valley. I was tired of being stuck at home with kids and no transportation. I felt suffocated by my own home. I spent the whole day irritable, discontented, grumbling.
A favorite book kept haunting me. A fictional account of a family living through World War I, the main character comes to long for the everyday routine she once loathed as boring. Her dependence on God strengthens as she endures the agony of waiting for loved ones who may not return.*
I kept hearing a scripture. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
Prov 27:1 NIV.
On September 11, 2001 I awoke with the same scripture ringing in my spirit. I repented of my bad attitude. I comforted myself by singing, “This is the Day the Lord has Made,” as I prepared to receive my clients. It was a beautiful, fall morning in Louisiana. I opened the windows. My house was flooded with fresh air and sunshine. Yet I had a mysterious, uncomfortable feeling that something serious was happening.
With trepidation I turned on the news. The World Trade Center was burning. Although concerned for the people in the building, no one had any idea how serious and desperate the situation was. It was assumed to be an accident. Then, as we watched, the second plane hit.
We prayed and watched and waited and cried. All America fell into the giant pit of the enemy that day. We cried out to God in agony. He intervened.
Normally jaded, irreverent members of the media called on Americans to pray. God Bless America was sung. Flags were displayed. Our deeply divided country came together in grief.
God was with us in the pit. He is with us in the valley. He is with us on the mountaintop.
We are so blessed!
Mk 10:27, Ps 40:2 Mt 28:20
*Rilla of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery